Flashback: 1959

May 25, 2013 | 1 comment

Oysterville Store Window (2)There was lots of activity at the Oysterville Store yesterday.  Lighting fixtures were being installed; paint spatters were being cleaned off the floor; shelves were being dusted and glass display cases were being polished.  The finishing touches were being applied to the window decorations.  By late afternoon all was in readiness for today’s “Sneak Peak and Book Signing.”  Or at least I think it was.

About three o’clock I had popped over to check out progress and Greg’s work crew (neighbors Bradley and Marty and Chief Worker Bee Tom) were closing in on it.  Greg, himself, was in a huddle with local artist Jean Stamper, looking at her greeting cards which will be for sale today.  Some of my books were stacked on the shelves, although the shipment of Legendary Locals of the Long Beach Peninsula had not yet arrived.

Arcadia Publications had assured Greg that the books would be there Tuesday.  Last Tuesday.  Then they said Wednesday.  Then Friday.  Presumably, by yesterday afternoon the UPS truck was on its way.  Greg was confident that all would be well in time for my signing (1:00 to 3:00) and book talk (1:30) this afternoon.  And he had a back-up plan – borrow books from other willing vendors.

The Other Oysterville Store WindowOtherwise, the shelves were mostly empty.  All that will, of course, be remedied by the actual opening date, July 6th.  The point of today’s opening, after all, is to give the community a taste of what’s to come.  And an opportunity to “buy local” – at least with respect to cards and books.  And a chance to eat a celebratory piece cake.

I did have a strange moment of déjà vu when I glanced around at those empty display cases and shelves.  In 1959, on a car trip from Greece to Italy, I spent a day and a night in Titoville, Yugoslavia. I remember that there was one large department store downtown.  It had inviting looking windows and I went inside to look around.  Behind each counter was a pleasant looking clerk but there was absolutely nothing in the entire store to buy.  It was simply devoid of merchandise.

We tried to find out what was going on, but met impassive faces and blank expressions.  No one could or would speak English.  That night at dinner, we asked our waiter (who spoke a little French) and the best we could get out of his explanation was that it was meant as an encouragement to the people of the city; even though they knew there was nothing behind the window dressing.  It was the promise of a better future.  Hmnm.

Well, that was Titoville 1959.  This is Oysterville 2013.  I’m pretty sure that there is no comparison at all – not even apples to oranges.  And, anyway… there will be books and cards for sale.  And dessert!

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    We loved our sneak peek at the Oysterville Store and hope that Greg is very successful as he seems gracious and enthusiastic. The store looks great and only wants some more stock!


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